Monday, February 28, 2011

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

Moisture Surge is a favorite hydrator of mine and I have used it several times over the past few years. For the longest time, Clinique only had this product out in the gel moisturizer form and therefore that is all that I have had to purchase from this line. At one point, I had expressed a wish for this type of product to come in a lighter gel formula so that I can reap the benefits of this product when the weather warms up and my skin gets a bit on the oilier side. Well, Clinique has released a second product in this line and even though it wasn't quite what I had been asking for it, it makes me hopeful that more are on their way soon. Since this product is part of the Moisture Surge line, I will be buying it and trying it out.

The new product is a face spray with the Moisture Surge ingredients and properties. Traditionally, I have used face sprays for two major purposes. The first one is to refresh and rehydrate during the hot summer months to touch up my face when at the beach or coming in from outside. The second usage is as an extra layer of moisture during the fall and winter months. After I cleanse my face and dry it off, I mist on a layer of the hydrator, let it absorb, and while my skin is still semi-damp, I apply my face cream to seal all of the extra moisturizer in. Currently, I have been using the Caudalie Grape Water for this purpose and it states on the bottle that it can be used be used for both hydrating and refreshing the skin. I still have to see if this product from Clinique will have the same description or if it is more to be used for adding that extra layer of hydration.

Clinique gives a description of the product as follows, "Water your skin. Take along a refreshing face spray for showers of thristy skin relief. Bursting with moisture and active aloe. But not a drop of oil. Rapidly replenishes skin's moisture level, restoring balance. Softens and soothes in a flash". Clinique states that this product is be used whenever skin feels thristy, under or over makeup. Based on that description, I am go to assume that this product is better for hydration than for refreshing. This product then will need to be used differently than the currant face spray that I have. This product will be better for adding that extra layer of moisture in the winter or for using when my face feels tight and dry at times during the day. This product description does not talk about toning or any types of ingredients so I going to say that this product does not provide any of those benefits and therefore would be best for normal to dry skin that needs some extra hydration throughout the day.

Based on the description and the usage instructions of this product, this is product that will work very well for me in the colder months instead of during warm weather. So I will be buying this product next fall instead of right now. I am excited that Clinique has begun to bring out more products in the Moisture Surge line and I can only hope for a lighter hydrator or maybe some type of hydrating face cleanser over the next few months.

photo courtesy of Clinique

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lady Gaga's Lippmann Collection Manicure at the 2011 Grammy Awards

Lady Gaga was back at it earlier this month at the 2011 Grammy Awards. She descended on the stage from an egg and went on to deliver a fantastic performance. Not only did she catch the crowd's undivided attention and wow everyone with her voice, her look was classic Gaga fantastic, topped off with a manicure using a new shade from Lippmann Collection.

The shade can be seen on her nails in this photo. The shade is named Yellow Brick Road and is a rich cream yellow. Deborah Lippmann selected this shade with the star to complement the canary yellow outfit chosen for the stage performance. This shade is not out yet and will launch in the middle of April with the Lippmann Collection Summer 2011 shades. I am willing to bet this shade will be a hit against tanned skin in the summer months.

photo courtesy of the Grammy Association

LUSH The Comforter Bubble Bar

The best way to spend a relaxing night in? Why, a LUSH bath of course! Instead of my usual Bath Bombs, I have decided to try out the Bubble Bars this time around. The Bubble Bars produce tons of fluffy bubbles, much like a traditional liquid formula bubble bath and the Bath Bombs color and scent your water without the production of the mounds of bubbles. I really love both formulas but I was just in the moods for bubbles this shopping trip. My latest purchase from LUSH is The Comforter Bubble Bar, their top selling Bubble Bar and a top selling bath product overall.

"This fruity bubble bar gives the feeling of being hugged by a jolly blackcurrant. When life is getting you down, crumble The Comforter under hot, running water for purple water and creamy bubbles. It was created to bring a real sense of comfort to people, just like a real comforter (or scarf) would. The warm aroma of cassis absolute is so relaxing that you'll go to bed feeling happier and the world will seem brighter the next day", states the LUSH United States website. The essence of the black currant is said to be both comforting and relaxing, placing this product into the aromatherapy category of products. This bar also contains orange, cypress, and bergamot oils to continue the work relaxation process.

The best way to use this bar is to cut it up into four pieces and them crumble one under hot running. Normally, I get two uses from each Bubble Bar but this one is huge so it can be divided up into four baths. When you smell the bar itself, I get a sweet blackcurrant and vanilla fragrance but in the bath tub, it smells more of a sweet berry and vanilla bath. Now I didn't get purple water from this, mine was a shade of bright magenta. I think you have to use the whole bar (or divide it in half) to get the full coloring but with how strong the fragrance it and how many bubbles just a quarter produced, I think that the full bar would be a huge overkill and a waste of the product.

I agree with the "comfort" part of this product. With all the bubbles that it produced, it did give me the feeling up being wrapped up in something. I think is great product to use in the fall and winter (especially when it is snowing or around the holidays) but I wouldn't use in the summer, it will just be too much. I can see why this is top seller for LUSH...

photo courtesy of LUSH

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NARS Week Day 7 - Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

Well everyone this is the end of my NARS week. I hope that I have brought more of the brand to life for you and given you all some ideas of what to buy next time that you head over to Sephora or the actual NARS store. The week is going to end as it began, with a new product that has come out for the opening of the store. The Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil is a new version of the best-selling Velvet Matte Lip Pencil and should be a lovely product to go into the spring months. Velvet Matte is a top rated product so I have very high expectations of this new version.

"Gorgeously glossy, intensely hydrating. NARS takes everything beloved about it Velvet Matte Lip Pencil - the convenience of a pencil with the application of a lipstick in a jumbo-sized crayon design - then swaps the matte formula for one that lends luminosity. Available in six beautifull glazed shades, the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils feature a lightweight formula that is enriched with Vitamin E, plus a blend of moisture-rich hyaluronic spheres for a lustrous look that's exceptionally rich. It doesn't get glossier than this", states the product description on the NARS website. So far there are only six shades but I am willing to be that more will be coming out as the seasons pass.

The shades of theis new product...

- Happy Days - pink coral infused with gold shimmer
- New Lover - gold infused strawberry pink
- Frivolous - iridescent seashell pink
- Hopi - honey beige
- Baroque - raspberry sorbet
- Club Mix - sheer grape

I am looking at these shades as more natural shades that I can use against strong eye makeup or for a more natural look during the day. I am the most interested in the Hopi shade, I hope that it is more neutral than warm and I can use it for a natural mouth that will stay on for hours on end. Frivolous will be a great shade in the spring before I have any type of tan and New Lover will look better in the summer months against my fake tan. Baroque might take me more into new fall with the berry tone of it and will look lovely against a gold eye. I will also try to pull this shade off during the warmer months and see how pigmented it appears once on the lip.

The is the end of NARS week. Readers, my greatest success would come if some of you end up loving the line as much as I do...

photo courtesy of NARS

Friday, February 25, 2011

NARS Week Day 6 - Front Row Set

This is the last of the new Sephora only sets that were introduced this spring. I loved the Fashion Forward that I just looked at the other day and that one was the clear front runner for my favorite of the group. This new one might over take that one but I am doubting it at first glance of the set. This set already has one point on the good side in that I don't own half of the set already. This one appears as those it contains a mixture of both warm and cool shades. Looking at it from this perspective, half of this set might work for me and the other half might not. So let's look at the last new set so that I can really decide which one is my favorite of the group.

"A four-piece Spring beauty set created exclusively for Sephora by brand founder Francois NARS. This runway ready set will have you at the edge of your seat with a fresh combination of modern metallic hues just in time for Spring", states the Sephora website.

It contains the following products and shades...

Duo Eye Shadow - Shades it inspire and desire. The same longwearing crease resistant formula as NARS Single Eye Shadow, in uniquely paired color combinations. Worn together or alone, all duo eye shadows can be applied sheer or built up for a more dramatic effect. All powder eye shadows can be used wet or dry. Richly pigmented, micronized powder formula provides improved wear and feel. Multifunction: use as eye shadow, eye liner, or on eye brows.
- Nouveau Monde - metallic silver lilac/rich olive gold

Eyeliner Stylo - Femme Fatale eyes with epic effects. The super-fine precision tip of this liquid eye liner allows for maximum control during application, ensuring a precise, even line with just one stroke. The quick-drying formula delivers a high dose of pigment for optimum coverage and intense color. High pigment formula provides optimum coverage and intense color. Long-wearing, quick-dry formula shapes and defines eyes - lasts all day. Super-fine precision tip ensures an even line - thick or thin.
- Nuits Blanches - shiny black

Lip Gloss - Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, creamy, and semi-sheer formulas. Extremely wearable and versatile shades, lip gloss may be worn alone or over other lip products for heightened drama. Ultra-shiny and highly pigmented. Convenient wand application. Iconic shades.
- Orgasm - pinky peach with shimmer
The Multiple - The original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips, and body. Its unique, creamy formula blends effortlessly to provide sheer color for creating shimmering accents, contours, or dynamic higlights on all skin tones. Creates perfect, glowing complexions and is conveniently designed for failproof application. The original multifunction color stick. mistake-proof color; quick and easy to apply.
- Palm Springs - golden beige

I like this set but I don't love it. My two favorite products are the eye products from this set. I am most interested in the Eye Liner Stylo in the black shade offered in it. I am interested to see if it can compare to the Penultimate product from MAC that I have been swearing by lately. I will have to buy the NARS liner and compare them. The only other product that I like is the Eye Shadow Duo, since it has just been released in the past month and I haven't gotten to get one yet. I already own this lip gloss and The Multiple will be much too warm for my skin. I might get this set after I get Fashion Forward but it isn't a must own for me.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NARS Week Day 5 - NARS Body Glow

Today we are switching gears away from the color products to another well known, cult product from NARS. The Body Glow is one of their cult hits but I have found that very few casual shoppers of this brand know what it is and how fantastic is works. I guess that this product became a cult favorite because people who loved it kept repurchasing it as they ran out of it. Body Glow is one of the original shimmer body products and has been around ever since I started purchasing from this brand. Every summer, this product is mentioned in several different magazines as a tan-enhancer and a great choice for getting dressed up and going out at night.

The NARS website gives the following product description, "A unique blend of Monoi de Tahiti oil combined with a rich chocolate shimmer for glowing, healthy, and naturally fragrant skin. Native to the South Pacific, Monoi de Tahiti oil is composed of pure coconut extract macerated with the bud of the tiare flower, infusing the oil with nutrients as well as a delicate, natural fragrance. The ultimate multi-purpose beauty oil soothes and moisturizes the skin with an addition of rich chocolate shimmer for a natural glow. The lightweight, sheer oil is absorbed immediately on the skin."

In the past few years, NARS has capitalized on the status of original with a release of a second version of this product, one without the shimmer. "Continuing in the tradition and spirit of French Polynesia, NARS launches Monoi Oil Body Glow II to complement the original, best-selling favorite, Body Glow. Capturing Monoi de Tahiti oil in its purest state, Monoi Body Glow II begets glowing, healthy-looking, and naturally fragrant skin. Monoi de Tahiti oil is the result of macerating the Tiare flower (Tahitian gardenia) in refined coconut extract for at least ten days, slowly infusing the oil with nutrients as well as a delicate, natural fragrance. Each bottle of Monoi Body Glow II retains an original Tiare flower to capture the essence of this unique process. A daily care product, apply this lightweight, multi-purpose beauty oil for daily moisture and instantly luminous skin."

I first used Monoi Oil several years ago when trying out the Bath and Body Works Island Spa collection and fell in love with the lotion that was spiked with it. A bit of background on this product and why NARS decided to choose it for the product. Monoi oil is an oil made from soaking the petals of Tahitian gardenias in a semi-wax coconut oil. The word itself translates out to "scented oil" in the Reo-Maohi language. The Tiare Flower is the flower that produces the petals and it is the national flower of Tahiti and is a white flower. This type of oil is widely used to hydrate both skin and hair and is renowed for its unique and exotic fragrance. I am willing to bet that NARS choose it for both the hydrating and the scent properties.

The original version of this product works only on skin after I have used self tanner for several days in a row. I love this shimmer aspect of this product but I wish that it was just a bit more of a light bronze or glod shade instead of the chocolate, since either of those shades would work better for my skintone. The newer version of this product would be better for my skintone but it doesn't contain any of the shimmer that I really like from the original project. I guess I just can't have it both ways... I will have to buy both and use the original in the summer months only and the other to hydrate my skin all year round.

photo courtesy of NARS

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NARS Week Day 4 - Fashion Forward Set

Today we are looking at another one of the Sephora exclusive sets that was released in the past few weeks. The first of the sets was based on the Orgasm shade that has become a consistent best seller for the line. Today, the Fashion Forward Set is up to be looked at. one first glance, this already looks like a better makeup set in for me for two major reasons. First, I don't own almost half of it already. Second, the shade variety is much greater and most of the shades in it appear to work with cool skin tones. I haven't looked at the last set yet but this one has the potential to be my favorite of the three.

Sephora states, "A four-piece Spring beauty set created exclusively for Sephora by brand founder Francois Nars. This runway ready set will have you going utterly wild with flattering pinks, deep purple, and shimmering gold. It includes a single mirrored eye shadow compact, mini Multiple, Soft Touch Shadow Pencil, and lip gloss." Deep purple, shades of pinks, and shimmering golds are all shades for me and reenforce my thoughts that this may be my favorite of the three sets.

The products and shades in this set...

Single Eye Shadow - Longwearing, crease-resistant color in sheer wearable formulas. All NARS eye shadows can be applied sheer or layered for a more dramatic effect. These richly pigmented powders blend effortlessly and can also be used wet for precisely lining the eyes. Richly pigmented, micronized powder formula provides improved wear and feel. Effortless blending. Multifunction: use as eye shadow, eye liner, and on eye brows.
- Daphne - deep violet (matte)

The Multiple - The original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips, and body. Its unique, creamy formula blends effortlessly to provide sheer color for creating shimmering accents, contours, or dynamic highlights on all skin tones. Creates perfect, glowing complexions and is conveniently designed for failproof application. The original multi-function color stick. Mistake-proof color; quick and easy to apply.
- Orgasm - peachy pink with shimmer

Soft Touch Shadow Pencil - Soft Touch Shadow Pencils provide easy, portable, long-wearing application. These jumbo sized pencils have versatile functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye. Smooth, creamy texture delivers a smooth, velvety feel to the eye and make for easy blending and an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity. Portable application.
- Hollywoodland - metallic gold

Lip Gloss - Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, creamy, and semi-sheer formulas. Extremely wearable and versatile shades, lip gloss may be worn alone or over other lip products for heightened drama. Ultra-shiny and highly pigmented. Convenient wand application. Iconic shades.
- Easy Lover - sheer hot pink

I love this set! This is will go on my shopping list next time that I go to Sephora. I have been interested in both eye products and the lip gloss shades since I saw them so this is the perfect chance for me to try all of them out. Daphne is a matte so it might be a bit hard for me to work with but I want to give it a fair shot. Daphne might be a bit too much for me for the spring and summer months but I know that I will get use out of it this fall and use all the others in the next few weeks. This is looking like it will be my favorite of the three sets but I still have another to check out yet this week.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NARS Week Day 3 - NARS Lip Gloss

Somehow in all my time as a blogger, I have passed by NARS Lip Gloss. Only in writing, not in use; their shades have a very prominent rotation in my traincase and are always a subject of interest when I look at their seasonal collections and new product releases. Since the invention of the product, some of the shade have gone on to be icons in the NARS collection and have gone on to be released in the other products of the collection. The shade Turkish Delight was on the reasons I started becoming obsessed with NARS Lip Gloss. For about a year when I was in college, it seemed that everytime that I liked a lip shade that on a model or on a young star, the shade was always listed as Turkish Delight. This was when the closest Sephora to me was well over an hour away. So began my love of NARS Lip Gloss...

Yet I still haven't bought the Turkish Delight shade. I finally got down to the Sephora in King of Prussia and bought the Orgasm Lip Gloss since this was the first time that they ever had it in stock in the store. I loved that shade then and still do to this day. Over the years, I have flirted with the NARS glosses while maintaining a steady relationship with MAC Lipglass. But sometimes you never forget one of your first loves...

"Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, creamy, and semi-sheer formulas. Extremely wearable and versatile shades, lip gloss may be worn alone or over other lip products for heightened drama. Ultra-shiny and highly pigmented. Convenient wand application. Iconic shades."

There is a huge shade range so let's go right into and see them all.

- Albatross - luminous glow
- Angelika - cotton candy pink with gold and silver sparkle
- All Night Long - dusty raspberry
- Babe - sheer orange red
- Bad Education - sheer crimson red
- Belize - pink mauve with gold flecks
- Bilitis - plum red
- Bloodwork - ultra shiny red vinyl
- Bougainville - pomegranate
- Chantaco - rhubarb
- Chihuahua - guava
- Coup de Coeur - sheer apple brandy
- Dolce Vita - dusty rose
- Downtown - metallic pink lavender
- Easy Lover - sheer hot pink
- Female Trouble - lilac mauve
- Foul Play - bare pink
- Giza - nectar
- Gothika - spiced berry
- Greek Holiday - sparkling pink sand
- Harlow - shimmery pearlized blend of silver and mauve
- Hustler - pinkish brown
- Luster - sheer golden apricot
- Luxor - iridescent pink
- Metis - sheer mulberry
- Misbehave - sheer shimmering red
- Moon Fleet - clear with silver and gold flecks
- Nana - deep black grape
- Oasis - sparkling pink champagne
- Ophelia - strawberry nectar
- Orgasm - peachy pink with shimmer
- Pillow Talk - sheer azalea pink
- Positano - cinnamon rose with subtle shimmer
- Revolt - sheer grape
- Risky Business - shimmering berry red
- Rose Birman - sheer cranberry
- Rose Gitane - sheer deep wine
- Sandpiper - shimmering amber coral
- Scandal - pinkish brown
- Stella - muted raspberry
- Stolen Kisses - sparkling caramel pink
- Striptease - pearlized beige sheen
- Sunset Strip - tangerine with gold shimmer
- Supervixen - shimmering nude beige
- Super Orgasm - bright pinky peach with shimmer
- Sweet Dreams - pink grapefruit with gold shimmer
- Sweet Revenge - sheer pink grapefruit
- Talitha - deep blend of pink and rose
- Tempest - neutral pink beige with shimmer
- Triple X - clear shine
- Turkish Delight - pink sorbet

We have a huge variety of shade to choose from. My two favorites and the only two that I currently have in my collection (both purchased from Sephora since at some points the shades are exclusive to that company) are Orgasm and Chihuahua. Orgasm has been covered extensively already in this blog so I do not feel the need to rehash is all again. Chihuahua is my favorite of the two shades and is a great guava cream that works equally well with dramatic eyes or a more natural look. This is a staple product for me and that is a large feat considering I own very many tubes of lip gloss. I find that this product has a thicker and tackier texture than most of the other lip glosses on the market, however it is also one of the longest lasting glosses that I have ever tried. The only aspect of this product that I dislike is the fact that has a somewhat light plastic taste, it's not awful but I prefer the vanilla scent that MAC has for all their Lipglasses.

Every gloss that I have tried from this line is very pigmented so unless it is stated that the shade is a sheer, it will have full pigmentation. I am mostly looking for a subtle pink shade and medium to deep berry shades. For some shades that are on the pink or neutral side, here is my list: Belize, Foul Play, Greek Holiday, Sweet Revenge, and Talitha. On my shopping list for the berries (maybe closer to next fall?): All Night Long, Dolce Vita, Rose Gitane, and Stella.
Lately, it seems that NARS has been very into expanding their lip product line with another new product coming out for the opening of the new store. Their lip gloss is classic and a top pick from the product line.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, February 21, 2011

NARS Week Day 2 - Fashion Icon Set

For the second day of our NARS theme week, we are heading over to Sephora and looking at one of the sets that is exclusive to this company. This set is the Fashion Icon Set and this set is based on the best-selling Orgasm hue that started as a blush for this company and now has expanded into both a full line of beauty products and is a cultural icon. I have a feeling that this will be the best-selling of the three new sets that have been created for Sephora. I have worn the Orgasm shades for years now, starting with the blush and quickly adding the lip gloss to my obsession within weeks of the original purchase. This shade is perfect with warm, bronzed skin and since that is the season that we are heading into right now...

"A four-piece Spring beauty set created exclusively for Sephora by brand founder Francois Nars. This runway ready set will have you going utterly wild with colors infused with golden flecks of peach and pink. It includes a harmonious mini blush duo, lip gloss, Orgasm multiple, and nail polish." I went over to the NARS website to get the best product descriptions so we can see exactly what is being offered in this set.

Blush - Made with transparent pigments for a soft and sheer look. Imparts a natural, healthy glow for any skin tone and may be worn alone or layered together for more depth and intensity. Provides a sheer, natural hint of color. Broad selection of shades.
- Orgasm - peachy pink with shimmer
- Super Orgasm - peachy pink with gold glitter
Lip Gloss - Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, creamy, and semi-sheer formulas. Extremely wearable and versatile shades, lip gloss may be worn alone or other over lip products for heightened drama. Ultra-shiny and highly pigmented. Convenient wand application. Iconic shades.
- Orgasm - sheer warm pink with golden shimmer

The Multiple - The original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips, and body. Its unique, creamy formula blends effortlessly to provide sheer color for creating shimmering accents, contours, or dynamic highlights on all skintones. Creates perfect, glowing complexions and is conveniently designed for failproof application. Mistake-proof; quick and easy to apply. Sheer natural finish for eyes, cheeks, and lips.
- Orgasm - peachy pink with shimmer

Nail Polish - An exclusive formula with technology to improve flexibility, durability, wear, and gloss properties. This longwearing formula provides a tough, durable, chip-resistant finish and also has added UV protection to prevent polish discoloration. Modern, sophisticated colors. Gentle formula. Toluene, Formaldehyde, and DBP free.
- Orgasm - peachy pink with shimmer

I definitely cannot say that I need this set, I already own the full sizes in the blush and the lip gloss and these products last forever since they are so pigmented. I haven't tried the Super Orgasm blush but I know that it will only work when I have much more of a tan than I do right now. The same argument will go for The Multiple, based on the reviews that I have read about it already. I really love the nail polish in this shade but I can't justify buying the whole set just to try out the one product (since I can buy it alone too).

I feel like this set is aimed to introduce people to NARS since most of thier fans already own at leat one or two products offered here and won't need to repurchase them in this set. If I didn't own some of these products already and had skin that is somewhat tanner all year round, this would be a great set to purchase but I would look at the others first for myself.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NARS Week Day 1 - Bento Box

Bento Box is one of the most hyped products of the past few months. We saw glimpses and hints of this product throughout the holidays but it was never available for purchase. Well, the Bento Box is the most exciting of the products that were released to celebrate the opening of the store. This set is exclusive to the NARS website and the new store so if this isn't reason enough to head over to Bleecker St., then I don't know what is...

"NARS Founder and Creative Director Francois NARS has interpreted the charisma and drama that is kabuki theatre for today's elegant, modern woman. Debuting this holiday season after years of development is the NARS Bento Box Set - a limited edition set of two Kabuki cups that were hand-poured with a new exclusive-to-NARS lipstick formula in a highly pigmented shades. Housed in handmade bento box, this set includes a Kabuki lip brush, designed for precise application by dipping the brush into the cup and blending until desired coverage is achieved. NARS captures the majesty of the kabuki lip - the ideal of feminine beauty - with Maiko and Sakura, the unique lip colors in this exquisite keepsake."

I did some background on what a bento box is and tried to determine why NARS would choose this type of box to house their major product launch. A bento box housed lunches for Japanese school children and adults alike since the beginning of the 1800s. These boxes can be simple or very ornate and made from such materials as silver or aluminum. I understand why he would choose to house Japanese products in a Japanese style box but I still need to know more about the Kabuki lip itself.

From the racked.com release on this product, I was able to find out more about Francois NARS' inspiration to create this product. "In Kabuki theater there is a style, Kumadori, which uses shades to represent different emotions and moods: red represents passion and vigor while pink represents cheerfulness and youthfulness...Maiko, a vibrant red, is the Japanese word for dancing girl and is used to refer to apprentice geishas. Sakura, a hot pink, is Japanese for cherry blossom, the symbolic flowering cherry tree integral to Japanese culture."

This set is very limited edition and I am betting that it sell out very soon. I really like both shades and I love to get my hands on this set but I know that this is one of those products that I would buy and never use because it is so pretty. This makes a perfect gift for yourself or anyone who loves beauty and/or Asian inspired products.

This is the perfect set for NARS to offer for the opening of their first stand-alone store. I don't know that The Bento Box can ever be topped with a more beautiful product...

photo courtesy of NARS

My Newest Theme Week - NARS Week

My latest theme week isn't focused around a country or a type of product. This time around, I have decided to switch it up a bit and focus on having a whole week devoted to a favorite brand of mine, NARS. The first NARS store opened this month on Bleecker St. in Manhattan and to celebrate, the company has released several limited edition sets. Some of these items are available only on the NARS website and at the new store, some are available at Sephora (I will provide places to purchase during the write up).

I have loved NARS for years so the chance to actually shop in a store totally devoted to this brand is very exciting. I found a picture of the inside of the store on the Vogue website and it only made me even more excited to see this store.

This week, we are going to be look at some of the new sets along with some products that I have been trying out from this company for the first time around. Excited? Let's go!

photo courtesy of Vogue.com

Saturday, February 19, 2011

O.P.I. for Sephora Spring 2011 Collection - Urban Ballerina

The O.P.I. for Sephora collection is one of my major downfalls every single time that I go shopping at that store. I walk all around and take about an hour to decide what I want to purchase and then I finally get in line with my items. Then, WHAM!! I am waiting in line and come face to face with the display of all the shades of polish and I end up playing with them while I wait. And the final outcome? I always end up buying one or two of them on top of everything else that I already have in my hands. From a marketing perspective, that is superior product placement in the store. They are the perfect impulse purchase, since they are under $10, they aren't so expensive that you get out of line and put items back but Sephora can add about $9 to almost every sale without doing anything additional.

This nail polish line has released a new shade collection for spring and it draws on inspiration from all the ballet trends that have been dominating the past few months. This collection contains six shades that are various shades of pinks, grays, cool beiges, and purples. All cool toned, there is nothing for you if these types of shades don't work for your skin.

The Sephora website states the following for the description of the new collection of shades. "A collection of long-wearing, chip-resistant nail polishes. Inspired by the eclectic style of an urban ballerina, this striking collection infuses a punk-rock edge with the typically soft, sweet (and pink) palette of classical ballet. The shades in the Urban Ballerina collection reflect the urban dancer's dynamic textures and colors, like shimmering pink satin, the steely gray of downtown buildings, and the neutral tones of a city landscape. Each shade is totally wearable, fashionable, and a must-have accessory!"

The new shades...

- Break A Leg-Warmer! - opaque charcoal gray
- Leotard Optional - opaque mocha beige
- Let's Pile - opaque metallic light beige
- Shiny Dancer - opaque slate with fine iridescent glitter
- The Way Tutu His Heart - opaque light pink
- Who's Spinning Tonight? - opaque metallic true grape

I like all six of the new shades and would have a very easy time working them into my nail polish collection. That being said, none of these shades are very unique and if I wasn't a fan of the formula of this polish then I wouldn't be all that interested in some of them. I think that I can safely skip Leotard Optional and Who's Spinning Tonight? without any type of heart break. My favorite shade in the collection is Shiny Dancer, both for the shade and the name of shade (Tiny Dancer is my favorite song in the whole world). I would also get a lot of wear from The Way Tutu His Heart and Let's Pile since they are both easy to wear pales. Break A Leg-Warmer! might be a better winter shade than a spring shade beinf that it is deep cream. If I see it in person and really like it than I might buy it and either use it on toes only for the next few months or put it away until October.

Much as I all the pinks, silvers, and purples, I have a feeling that the endless cool tones that are being offered this spring are not going to go over really well with entire population and soon we are going to see a ton of warm toned or bright shades...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gucci by Gucci

I think that the award for the most unique fragrance that I have tried this whole year goes to this fragrance. Normally, I go for more floral and oriental fragrances but this is the first fragrance of the Chypre family that I have ever tried. A Chypre is a very unique type of fragrance that smells mostly of woods on the skin, perhaps with a musky or floral twist to it. This is one of the oldest types of fragrances and many fragrances that were available at the turn of 1900s and the next twenty to thirty years after were of this type. This is is much older type of fragrance than any of the florals that we are so popular today.

Gucci by Gucci is one of the few fragrances of this type that is available today of this type and the only one that was created in the past ten years. This fragrance made quite a splash in the beauty world when it was first introduced to Neiman Marcus around 2007 or 2008. This was a triumph for Gucci in that they created a Chypre that manages to smell both modern and true to origins of the fragrance family while combining it all with modern technology allowing the fragrance to wear better than it's much older counterparts.

"Gucci by Gucci is the signature fragrance for the modern day icon - a strong yet sensual woman driven by both her desire for achievement and her unmistakable feminine allure. The new Gucci fragrance falls into the Chypre floral scent family, with a top fruity citrus note and a woodsy base note. The fragrance emerges with an unexpected blend of guava and pear, bringing with it a uniqueness and modernity. The heart adds a rich, sensual femininity with the Tahitian Tiare flower bringing creaminess to an unconventional bouquet. The bottom consists of musky notes and honey that add sensuality and warmth to the strength of the patchouli", states the fragrance description on the Sephora website.

The fragrance notes: Guava, Pear, Tahitian Tiare Flower, Honey, Musk, Patchouli.

This fragrance is very bottom note oriented on my skin. I get a quick burst of the top fruit notes but then the fragrance settles into the woody and musky notes on my skin. I can smell the honey, the musk, and the patchouli on my skin, making this the most unique fragrance that I own. Personally, I find this fragrance best used at night when getting dressed or for a big day at work when I need to make a statement. I bought the EDP in this fragrance and it lasts about four to five hours on me. This fragrance is also available in a lighter EDT form so this is an option for those who find it to be too strong for them.

This fall and winter, I was very interested in vintage fashion and beauty and this fragrance fit in perfectly with my red lipstick and super high heels. This one is not for everyone, I will be the first to admit that but if you can make this one work, you will have a fragrance that no one else has anything close to.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, February 17, 2011

MAC Future Face

This is the second of the new MAC collections that has been released. This collection will fall under the shadow of the new Viva Glam Gaga release and it will not get the recognition that it deserves. At one point, Future Face was rumored to be an Asia release only but since it is on the United States website, I have to assume that the rumor is not true (unless a different set of products was released in that market). Future Face is a color collection that consists only of face makeup and nothing for the lips or eyes. It is quite easy for this one to be up-staged by Lady Gaga...

"MAC forges ahead with a three-in-one force: Powder, Foundation, and Tinted Moisturizer all together. A broad, all-inclusive shade range means MAC Artists can cover everybody, one beautiful conquest at a time. Call your clients most in need of convincing, and watch what happens!"

The new collection...

Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder - Formulated to provide a smooth, virtually invisible, fresh-looking finish, this soft cream-like powder is carefully blended to provide the skin with extra care, nourishment, and comfort. Available in eight shades to suit all skintones.

Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation - A modern foundation that combines a natural matte finish and medium-buildable coverage with broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 15. Comfortable and long-wearing: lasts for up to eight hours. Applies smoothly, builds coverage quickly and easily. Contains specially treated micronized pigments and soft-focus powders for a super-smooth look that helps minimize the appearance of imperfections. Absorbs and disperses oil. Contains special skin-conditioning ingredients. Oil free. Available in seven shades to suit all skintones.

Studio Moisture Tint SPF 15 - A light, tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 and other skin-nourishing ingredients. An easy one-step finish specially suited for the season, this sheer tint provides just enough coverage to even out the skintone while creating a flawless, protected, softly moisturized finish. Suitable for all skintones. Available in two shades.

190 Foundation Brush - Pro-quality. A foundation brush designed to create a smooth, even finish, flawless look. Works well with any MAC foundation, including Studio Fix and Studio Tech. Use to apply, distribute, and blend foundation into all areas of the face.

150 Large Powder Brush - Full and dense for dusting loose or pressed powder on face or body. This brush is particularly good for blush application with soft fibers that form a full, rounded shape. MAC professional brushes are hand-sculpted and assembled using the finest quality materials. They feature wood handles and nickel-plated brass ferrules.

Looks like I need to go to the MAC counter and see how these new foundations and tinted moisturizer compare. I am most interested in the Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder since I have never used a cream to powder formula before.

photo courtesy of MAC

MAC Viva Glam Gaga II

It is the time of the year that MAC releases the newest addition to their famous Viva Glam line. This year's choice for a spokesperson is Lady Gaga for a second year in a row. Viva Glam Gaga sold out within hours last year and spawned a matching Lipglass in the beginning of September and now has inspired a second version for the collection this time around. We all know how much I love Lady Gaga so I don't even need to talk about how excited I am about this new shade.

"No Bad Romance here. We're unveiling a hot new shade inspired by Lady Gaga and her passions, in both Lipstick and Lipglass. And by now you know every cent from the sale of MAC Viva Glam goes toward the MAC AIDS Fund." I loved last year's pale pink shade (Lustre finish) but this shade is more warm and so I don't think that this year's will work near as well for me. I have been wearing the original for the past few days now since pinks are really popular this spring.

Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick - The Viva Glam and Lady Gaga collaboration takes off again with a shade as enigmatic as the Diva's star persona. A light warm beige with an Amplified finish, the look is as cool as only she can be. All monies raised go the MAC AIDS Fund to help support people living with HIV/AIDS. Limited edition.

Viva Glam Gaga Lipglass - The Lady Gaga lovefest continues with the debut of this seductively pale milky-beige Viva Glam Lipglass. Wear it alone or with its Lipstick namesake. All monies raised go to the MAC AIDS Fund to help support people living HIV/AIDS. Limited edition.

This shade is not for me, it is too warm and brown based lip shades never work with the undertones in my skin. I might (but I doubt it) make the Lipglass work if it is sheer enough but I have no hope for the Lipstick since it is the Amplified formula and therefore is not at all sheer. Looks like I will just be wearing the original shade this spring too...

photo courtesy of MAC

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

When the name Laura Mercier is uttered, many people think of one product only. That product is the famous, award winning tinted moisturizer, a product that has many Allure awards and is a consistent Sephora best seller. I was first turned onto this product quite a few years ago when Jean Godfrey June covered it (and raved over it ) in her column for Lucky magazine. I was in college at the time and have never really heard of using a tinted moisturizer instead of a liquid or powder foundation. I was somewhat interested in the product but mostly because she raved about it and I love everything that she loves.

Flash forward several years and land right in the middle of a Laura Mercier event at their counter in bloomingdales. Since they had several professional makeup artists right there and no one was in line at that moment, I decided to take a chance on the product and have them use it on my face. I was a bit worried that the coverage just wouldn't been enough to cover my red areas since a tinted moisturizer seems like a plain hydrator that is spiked with just a hint of color. When I expressed this concern to the artist, she recommended that I try using a lighter coverage foundation and look at a heavier concealer instead of heavy coverage foundation used alone. She did my face with the combination of this product and the Secret Camoflage concealer and I caved and bought both products. And the matching Secret Camoflage brush. What can I say? Impress me and I am a pretty easy sale.

The Laura Mercier website gives the following product description and usage details. "Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is a sheer, lightweight moisturizer with SPF 20 and a hint of color that can be used in place of foundation for a natural appearance while adding a healthy glow to your complexion. Moisturizing formula hydrates skin, softening and easing fine, dry lines. Leaves a natural, dewy finish. Features an anti-oxidant vitamin complex that acts as a free radical scavenger to protect the skin from even the most aggressive effects of the environment. Extremely long-wearing, stays colour true, and wears evenly. Add SPF and a sheer finish to the skin by mixing 50% Tinted Moisturizer into your foundation". "To Use: apply to clean skin and use an outward and downward motion - be careful not to pull the skin. Can be worn with or without Foundation Primer".

I found that the simplest method of application was the best for this product. I tried applying it with a sponge, thinking I could get it one like foundation. It just made the product streak all over the place. I tried applying it over another moisturizer, thinking that it would be twice as hydrating. More streaking occured. The best results came when I applied to it clean skin (using it as my hydrator) with my fingers and just blended it in with the pads on my fingers. Sometimes the easiest way really is the best way...

This product comes in two formulas, one that is oil-free and one that is not. I have bought and used both in the extra same shade (Porcelain - what else?) and find that there is very little different in the texture. If you are prone to breakouts, you might like the oil-free version a tad better but I experienced no issues with either version.

This product gave me even coverage and reduced the appearance of the redness in my cheeks. The use of this and a heavier concealer really helps my red areas without looking like I am wearing a ton of makeup or having my face look cakey. This formula stays on most of the day but does tend to sweat off pretty easily in humid weather.

The only part of this product that I'm not all that impressed with is the SPF 20. Tinted Moisturizers are not applied to the skin with a heavy enough hand for SPF to really even be useful in this product. It doesn't hurt to have it in but I would prefer a product with no SPF and then to add my own under it.

photo courtesy of Laura Mercier

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Giorgio Armani Spring 2011 Collection - La Femme Bleue Armani

I have very little experience with the Giorgio Armani makeup collection since it is very hard for me to find in the area that I live in. But that doesn't mean that I am not going to go on their website and drool over the latest collections and products. And since I have so few times that I can buy these products in person, I have to research everything on the website before I can head up to New York City to go shopping at the Saks makeup counters. At the moment, I am planning a trip up there in April/May time frame so I guess now would be a good time to do some browsing...

Armani's Spring 2011 collection is named La Femme Bleue Armani. "Featuring colors from the iconic Armani Touareg Blue runway show - never before has makeup been so linked to fashion".

We have four new items in this collection; two for eyes, one for lips, and the last one for the face...

La Femme Bleue Eye Palette - La Femme Bleue, 4 color eye palette, as seen on the Giorgio Armani S/S 2011 runway. Four distinct jewel tones that apply on sheer for a soft daytime look but are buildable for an extravagant runway smoky eye. Pressed in a metallic signature palette. Giorgio Armani's Micro-Fil formula combines colour impact and exceptional layering properties thanks to micronized pigments that can be layered and blended infinitely. They form a fine film of rich colour intensity and create a translucent luminous effect.
- Deep blue lavender/bright teal/light silver shimmer/deep charcoal

La Femme Bleue Long Wear Waterproof Eye Pencil - A soft, long wear waterproof pencil that glides on perfectly and doesn't smudge throughout the day. High-tech compact colour morphs into a fluid substance upon application, creating an eye pencil that is a cross between a liner and a crayon. Available in three colours to perfect your La Femme Bleue look.
- Black - black
- Bark Brown - medium brown
- Green Leaf - medium forest green

Rouge d'Armani Spring 2011 - Now in a new shade, this limited edition Rouge d'Armani lipstick ignites the face with intense and vibrant lip color. This subtle colorful metallic finish off-sets the darker smoky eye.
- Dawn Pink - medium shimmering rose

Fluid Sheer Spring 2011 - Fluid Sheer dresses skin in an illuminating veil of radiance. This unique, translucent formula is avaiable in a range of versatile hues including makeup base shades, correcting shades, and radiance boosting shades. Blend your favorite Fluid Sheer with foundation to add radiance, polish, and sculpting definition to your complexion. Or use it alone as a makeup base. All skin types. Perfects, sculpts, and illuminates skin. Complete and versatile shade range. Doubles as eye shadow base, blush, or bronzer. Sheer lightweight texture and coverage.
- Pale Shimmering Rose - pale glowing pink

Armani states that these products can be used to create a soft daytime look, especially the eye shadow palette. I am not really seeing it since those shades are very pigmented and I feel that this collection is more appropriate to smoky night look. That being said, this eye shadow palette is still not a winner for me, I don't do blue eye makeup and so this one just won't work out. The only two products that I am interested in are the Rouge d'Armani lipstick shade and the new Fluid Sheer shade. Both are pink and sheer so they will be great products for my skintone.

photo courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo

There was an article in the March issue of Cosmopolitan that made me think about this product a bit more than I normally do. The article was talking about how women are showering less and less and therefore sales of dry shampoos have been skyrocketing over the past few years. Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo is the first version of this product that I ever remember seeing and now it seems that every single line contains a bottle or two of dry shampoo. I first bought this product at Sephora in 2007 and it stills remains one of their best selling hair care products.

Sephora states, "A fast fix for dirty hair. Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo is the ultimate time saver. It refreshes, revives, and rejuvenates the hair in a matter of minutes - no water or blow dryer required. Voted Best Dry Shampoo and Best Quick Fix by Allure magazine, it effectively soaks up oil, removes product build up, and boosts volume, Hair looks, feels, and smells freshly shampooed with a clean, lemon verbena scent. Go ahead, hit snooze!"

So why did I buy this product in the first place? Part of it was just plain curiousity, I had no idea if this product would work and I had never seen anything like it before so I just had to try it out. Also, I first bought this product when I had my long hair and since I blow it out and straighten all the time, some days I just don't have the time or patience to do it on mornings that I had to be out of the house in a hurry. This product was a huge help in saving time and making my blow outs last twice as long as they normally did.

I will admit that my first few times with this product were not positive. I learned through trial and error that the best way to apply this product is to put it right on the area where I part my hair and then rub it in and down the hair shaft. I have also found that you need very little of this product to start making it work and it better to start with a bit and then add more because if you add too much to begin with... Your hair will be trashed for the rest of the day. I usually made several parts in my hair and applied it to each area and then worked in it. Results will appear with the use of this product by itself and a natural bristle brush but I prefer to use it and rub it in and then quickly blow dry my roots to help re-awaken my blow out.

The scent of this product is listed as "lemon verbena", I found it to be more lemon than a mixture of the two. And the scent is strong, I have had several people comment on the scent of it. All of the comments on it were compliments but if you are sensitive to smells, this might not be the best choice for you. The powder is white and if you don't rub it in well enough or use too much, your hair will have a white cast for the rest of the day. Which is not attractive at all. Also, I discovered that if I used too much of this powder, the shine will be gone from my hair for the rest of the day.

This product is available in two forms now, the traditional powder form and a newer spray form. I haven't had the chance to try the spray form but I do wonder how well it can be controlled in this type of packaging. The powder form now also comes in a smaller size that is perfect for travel or for a gym bag. I have the large bottle of this product and I do want to buy the smaller size to keep with me for touch ups through out the day.

First of its kind...and it had both spawned and out sold many of it's imitations.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lippmann Collection Spring 2011 Shades

Lippmann Collection has new shades out for this spring! We all know that Lippmann Collection is a favorite brand of mine and that I rapidly collect as many products from them as I can. As I am typing this, I am wearing the Purple Rain shade that was made two years ago for the Zac Posen Spring 2009 shows. Their collections have never had a miss for me so I am very interested in what new shades are coming out right now. This collection only consists of two new shades but they both look as though they are going to be winners based on the pictures of them on the website.

The first shade is the one that I find the more interesting of the two. It is named Glitter In The Air and has the same type of finish that Happy Birthday had last spring. This shade is described on the Lippmann Collection website as a "sky blue confetti". This one appears to be a pale blue background with blue confetti suspended in it. This one looks as though it will make quite an impact on the nail. Based on the previous experience that I have had with Lippmann Collection, I beleive that this shade will take two coats to evenly cover the entire nail and that the confetti might take some practice to perfect. This shade looks as though it will be the hit of the season for this company.

The second shade is the more universal of the two, this one is another neutral from this company. I have several very nice pales and neutrals from Lippmann Collection and I am looking forward to this one since it should be another hit to add to my collection. This shade is named Naked and is described as "clean bare beige". This one has a cream finish and is a great neutral shade for the office. In the tradition of Lippmann Collection pales, one coat of this shade will give a sheer finish and two coats will give an opaque nude finish.

I will be snapping both of these shades up before the brights come out this summer. I love pale shades in the warm weather and I really love shades that are cool toned and will set off my skin tone. This is another winning collection from Lippmann Collection and I am willing to bet that I will be getting tons of use from both of the new shades.

photo courtesy of Lippmann Collection

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Upcoming MAC Collections

Straight from a Specktra.net forum, here are a list of the upcomin MAC collections that are coming this spring. This is subject to change of course but this will give you some ideas as to what is to come.

- MAC Future Face (Feb 2011) - might be an Asia-only release
- MAC Cremeblend Blush (Mar 2011)
- MAC Jeanius (Mar 2011)
- MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick (Mar 2011)
- MAC Primed For Perfection (Apr 2011)
- MAC Bronze Everyday (Apr 2011)
- MAC Quite Cute (Apr 2011)
- MAC Surf Baby (May 2011)

Quite cute has me very interested, this should be a great spring season!

Lancome Spring 2011 Collection - Ultra Lavande

Lancome's new collection for the season focuses on the big trend that surrounds all types of purple shades this spring. Personally, I jumped on the bandwagon with this trned since my skin is so cool toned that I can pull off almost any purple shade that I try. I associate pale lilac shades with spring, whether it is because of the recurring trend or the shades of the flowers that bloom this time of the year, I'm not really sure. But I do know that I like this trend and the first shots that I saw of this collection. This is another collection from Aaron De May, the genius between the two years of Lancome collections. His first in Spring 2009 hit it out of the ball park and has continued to do so ever since. This time around should be no exception.

The new collection from Aaron De May...

French Touch Absolu - Lancome strikes the perfect balance between nature and cosmetic performance with a cocktail of the finest 96% natural ingredients in a creamy and lightweight lipstick.
- Berry Rose - deep berry pink with a hint of shimmer

Color Design Minerale Quad - The packaging is decorated with an elegant bowtie and butterflies designed by Alexis Mabille. Alexis Mabille is a French fashion designer famous for his frivolous, dynamic, imaginative and racey universe, where sophistication and fasntasy become one. The Bowtie is a leitmotiv in its artistic work.
- Cool Lavande - pale pink/shimmering white/medium rose/cool blue purple
- Warm Lavande - shimmering pale beige/warm gold/medium periwinkle/deep plum navy

Butterflies Fever - The new must have blush is an original twist of two incontrovertible items of the 70's style: the bowtie is the ultimate chic attitude, besides a way to express free-spirit and absolute lack of concern for what other people think. The butterfly is a multicultural symbol of free soul, feminity, and beauty of nature.
- Pinks - light and medium pink shades with cool toned accents

Color Fever Gloss - The ultimate Color Fever Gloss becomes natural, with a 97.5% natural origin ingredients and 100% natural origin perfume of lavande. Beyond hydration, the toning power of honey concentrated in nourishing nutrients offers a luscious and shiny generous formula to your lips.
- Lavande Ballerine - pale shimmering lilac
- Beige Ballerine - pale shimmering beige
- Rose Ballerine - pale shimmering pink

Ombre Magnetique - Aaron De May has been inspired by the setting of Chez Regine's in Paris, a famous night club and raised to a Disco Temple known for its walls, covered with silver and gold mirrors. Ombre Magnetique is a true light catcher: your eyes twinkle like the facets of a disco ball. You can play with these cold and warm shades, for infinite ways to highlight your gaze. The fusion between this innovative sparkling eye shadow and the disco lights is ultra-glamourous and captivating.
- Disco Silver - silver
- Disco Gold - gold
- Ultra Lavande - bright plum

Le Vernis - It is Lancome's most technically-advanced nail polish. Your fingertips and toes will love the boost of color and lasting shine that stays put for up to seven days. It's cutting edge, soft-sculpt brush embraces the shape of each nail for perfectly even coverage in one coat with no clumps. Shiny and Shock Free: Shield Plasticizers keep nails flexible, shiny, and more resistant to shock and abrasion. Chip-free for days! Strong and Healthy: Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM) is a naturally occuring substance known for its diverse health benefits, including support for healthy nails. It is known to boost the production of keratin, a tough protein from which finger and toe nails are made. MSM paired with Shield Plasticizers make nails much stronger and more flexible.
- Le 54 - light lavender with iridescent glitter
- Violet Groove - medium lilac with shimmer

L'Absolu Rouge - Wrap your lips in rich, satiny color with this deeply replenishing lipstick. Infused with moisture-boosting Pro Xylane, lips stay moist, soft, and comfortable for up to 8 hours. Antioxidant-rich Vitamin E and SPF 12 help keep lips safe from environmental aggressors, so they'll look and feel healthier day after day. The stay true color won't feather, flake, or fade, so your pout will always look picture-perfect.
- Daisy Rose - medium rose cream
- Lily Rose - medium neutral pink cream

Le Crayon Kohl - The classic Crayon Kohl has been twisted; it is now organic Crayon Kohl, composed by 100% natural ingredients.
- Ultra Lavande - deep plum

I love this whole collection, however I feel that the promo picture for this collection uses just a bit too much of the collection at once. I don't know that I could pull off Le Crayon Kohl in the new shade with all the shades in the cool-toned quad over it, with the blush, and the new formula of the lipstick. I would have to wear a more toned down version is order to pull it off. My two favorite items in this collection are Le Vernis is Le 54 and Color Design Minerale Quad in Cool Lavande. Cool Lavande contains shades that I can wear this spring and that I can get out againg next fall into winter. Cool Lavande is my favorite of the two but I will picking up Warm Lavande also for the exact same reasons. Butterflies Fever is another great choice for my skin tone, I always wear pink or rose blushes and this one is going to be a winner for me.

I think that for lip color choices, this may be the best collection of the whole season for me, I love all the lipstick and gloss shades in this collection and there is not one that wouldn't work out for me. If I had to choose a few favorites, I want the new French Touch Absolu in the berry shade, another spring, fall, and winter shade for me. I am predicting that the best selling shade is going to be Lavande Ballerine from the lip gloss collection, this is the type of shade that sells like crazy everytime that MAC releases it and should be just as popular for Lancome. In addition to buying that shade of the gloss, I also want the Rose Ballerine shade of gloss and the L' Absolu Rouge in Lily Rose (it looks as though it is close to MAC's Way To Love).

The product that I am more interested in is the Ombre Magnetique, this seems to be like nothing that I currently have in my collection. I would love to have all three shades in this product but I know that I would get the most use from either the gold or the silver shades.

My last thoughts on this collection have to do with many of the new formulas, not just the shades. I am very impressed that Lancome is moving into the more organic and natural realm of beauty and beginning to move away from the chemicals and fake fragrances. I am very interested in the natural lavender fragrance in some of these products and am interested to see how the texture of these product differs from their original formulas. I am so impressed with the direction that Aaron De May is taking this company...

photo courtesy of Lancome

Friday, February 11, 2011

Urban Decay Feminine, Dangerous, Fun Palettes

A new release of Urban Decay palettes is a holiday for me! Urban Decay has just released three new eye shadow palettes, named Feminine, Dangerous, and Fun. These palettes are supposed to "speak to your inner mojo" and you pick the palettes that match your mood at the time. Each palette contains six eye shadows, one 24/7 Eye Liner, and a matching Primer Potion. Urban Decay states, "We like to describe everything we create as being feminine, a little dangerous, and a lot of fun. The eye shadow palettes speak to your inner mojo. Filled with six hand-picked, Eye Shadow Primer Potion, and 24/7 Eye Pencil, they coax your personality into doing all the talking. How do you roll?"

The three new "mood" palettes (dare I call them that?!)...

Feminine Palette - Our Feminine Palette is for those who cultivate a more "feminine" personality. Those sultry shadows suit your legendary wiles perfectly. We've added Eye Shadow Primer Potion in Eden, a matte, nude shade, and our award-winning black eye liner in Zero. Behold endless possibilites at your graceful fingertips.
- Eye Shadows in Stray Dog (cool medium brown), Midnight Cowboy (pink champagne with lots of silver glitter), Ectasy (bright purple with slight pink tint), SWF (light cotton candy pink with silver microglitter), Darkhorse (dark bourbon with shimmer), Aquarius (aqua green with shimmer)
- 24/7 Glide-On Eye Liner in Zero (zealous black)
- Primer Potion in Eden (tawny matte finish)

Dangerous Palette - Try as you might...your friends say you're rooted on the wild side. Our Dangerous Palette holds size intense, bewitching shades to help your inner "Femme Nikita" come out kicking. Feed you dangerous desires with Greed, our gilded Eye Shadow Primer Potion and a naughty purple eye pencil to complete the set.
- Eye Shadows in Haight (deep teal with shimmer), Virgin (matte nude), Mildew (deep green), Oil Slick (black with silver glitter), Rockstar (dark eggplant with shimmer), Gunmetal (gunmetal gray with silver glitter)
- 24/7 Glide-On Eye Liner in Rockstar (darkest eggplant)
- Primer Potion in Greed (shimmering gold)

Fun Palette - You tend to tip the scales toward "fun" don't you? Our Technicolor Fun Palette makes you the hit of any party (as if you need the help). This bright case hosts six shadows with twittering personality, a sassy eye pencil, and our must-have Eye Shadow Primer Potion. Please, entertain us!
- Eye Shadows in Woodstock (bright pink with slight shimmer), Psychedelic Sister (bright purple), Baked (rich bronze), Sin (champagne), Flipside (electric teal with blue sheen), Uzi (metallic silver with big iridescent sparkles)
- 24/7 Glide-On Eye Liner in Oil Slick (black with teeny silver glitter)
- Primer Potion in Original (nude)

The first action that I always take with Urban Decay Eye Palettes is to look and see what shades in them that I already own once (or twice in a few cases). In this group, I already own three of the shades in the Fun Palette (Baked, Sin, and Uzi); Gunmetal in the Dangerous Palette; and Midnight Cowboy in the Feminine Palette. It is looking like I really don't need the Fun Palette unless I love the other shades. Which I don't, I would get no use from Flipside and Woodstock and very minimal usage from Psychedelic Sister.

So one palette is totally out. I think that the Feminine Palette will be the best choice for me from this collection. Midnight Cowboy might actually be my favorite shade from Urban Decay so it wouldn't hurt me to have yet another one on hand (since it will get used). There actually isn't a shade in Feminine that I wouldn't use since many of these seem to be more on the neutral side and will work the best for my eye color. Onto the Dangerous Palette, I don't know how much use I would get from either of the deep teal shades or black shades. I don't use either of those shades enough to warrant ordering a palette that contains two more of each of them.

photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Freeze 24/7 Ice Cream Double Scoop Face Moisturizer

Over the past few weeks, I talked about the Freeze 24/7 line of skincare and the technology behind their revolutionary anti-aging formulations. The product that we focused on that day was the serum, the hero product of the line. The serum is designed to to be a repair product and not a preventative product so today I have decided that I am going to write about a preventative product that I have had great results with from Freeze 24/7. Ice Cream Double Scoop is the moisturizer that is offered with this line and can be used by both skin that is in need of wrinkle reduction and skin that isn't at that stage in the aging process yet.

Freeze 24/7 provides the following product description on their website. "A smoothing, moisturizing complex that provides intense hydration while nourishing, firming, and toning skin - provides immediate and long term benefits. This high-tech, super-charged skincare cocktail takes the moisturizing experience to the next level. Luxurious and exceptionally hydrating, Ice Cream Double Scoop is a powerful moisturizing complex of ingredients that hydrate the skin while providing serious anti-aging benefits".

" A powerful moisturizing complex that hydrates, nourishes, firms, and tones the skin. Works with all Freeze 24/7 products to enchance their performance, while also functioning as a powerful, luxurious stand-alone intensive moisturizing treatment. Diminishes expression line formations while shielding skin from oxidative stress and UVA/UVB rays. Skin looks supple, vibrant, and healthy - noticeably radiant and smooth. Reduces the appearance of facial expression lines and other common signs of aging. Fights free radical damage and oxidative stress with L-Carnosine & Green Tea Extract. Not tested on aminals and contains no aminal by-products. Dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, non-sensitizing, allergy tested, clinically tested, non-irritating".

I used this product both morning and night on dry skin. The texture is very close to that of marshmellow fluff, it doesn't say it in the description but this is a product targeted for dry to very dry skin. When I reviewed the ingredients, I found that one of the ingredients is shea butter, confirming my thoughts on the skin this is targeted to treat normal to dry skin. This was a great choice for my skin in the winter but as soon as the weather begins to get warm, this will be way too heavy. The cream sank into skin very quickly and left no residue behind. This cream contains the same Age-Reversal technology that the serum contains however it contains a much reduced amount of that ingredient.

Within the first week of use, I noticed a bit of extra redness in my cheek area however it quickly went away after that time. I didn't have any problems with it after that initial reaction period. This moisturizer made my skin much softer and is a great choice for normal to dry skin in cooler weather. With the texture of this product, I really feel that Freeze 24/7 should release a lighter version of this hydrator since this one is just not targeted for those with oily or even semi-oily skin. This is lovely moisturizer in the dry winter temperatures but it will be unusable in the warm months. As I stated above, Freeze 24/7 needs to make a lighter version of this moisturizer and then they will be able to capture more customers.

photo courtesy of Freeze 24/7

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Too Faced Spring 2011 Collection - The Look of Love

The new collection from Too Faced is named The Look of Love and appears as though it will be focused on eye makeup looks and will contain products to create soft, romantic makeup looks. Too Faced has released another one of their top selling eye shadow palettes in this collection, the Romantic Eye Collection, a palette that I have been interested in purchasing since I first saw the photo of it on the Sephora website. To add to the collection of eye products that are being introduced this season, we have two new versions of the Shadow Insurance Primer and a kit to help clean up eye brows.

Here is the newest Too Faced collection...

Romantic Eye Collection - A woman is most beautiful when she is in love! Indulge in our newest eye shadow lesson collection filled with romantic-inspired shades that will bring out your inner bride, bombshell, or classic beauty, all with an ultra-feminine touch. For Everyday Special Occasions: A collection of eye shadow shades that provide a perfect palette of choices for all occasions with a feminine and romantic twist. Formulas to Fall For: Nine, pigment-rich shades offer an essential range of dreamy hues and textures from soft pearl to matte. How-To Cards: Three easy-to-follow, how-to cards make achieving the romantic eye looks easy in minutes.
- Soulmates - shimmering nectar
- I Do - smoky taupe
- Unveil - shimmering coral
- Kiss the Bride - pink petal
- Cut the Cake - heathered mist
- First Dance - midnight orchid
- Bouquet Toss - babys breath
- Honeymoon - gilded fern
- Ever After - spicy chocolate

Amazing Face Liquid Foundation - Our oil-free, skin-smoothing liquid foundation provides the illusion of airbrushed skin in seconds. Complexion concerns disappear as the weightless, silky formula gildes on skin delivering undetectable coverage, with luxurious skincare benefits. You will always be ready for your close up! Erase Imperfections: Create with our advanced Light Refraction Technology that visibly reduces the appearance of pores and fine lines by diffusing the refracting light. Wrinke Relaxing: Bio Transformed Botanicals soften and relax the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles. Close-Up Coverage: Real Skin Technology allows for "close up" perfection. Weightless in finish and feeling, foundation coverage adjusts to skin's ever changing needs. Skin Balancing: Natural Bark Extract absorbs excess oil while keeping skin hydrated and fresh. Multi Mineral Complex, Vitamins A, C, & E and botanical extracts promote healthy, glowing skin. Available in eight shades to complement any skin tone.

Shadow Insurance Candlelight - Our legendary Shadow Insurance is now romantically lit with the shimmering golden glow of candlelight! The gilded luminous formula imparts a sexy, soft focued light that enhances eye shadow and adds just a touch of warm metallic flair. Long Wearing: Unique color binders guarantee your shadows never crease, smudge, or fade. Golden Glow: Our sexy shade of shimmering gold is gorgeous when worn alone or as a shimmering enhanced shadow primer. Instant Pigment Payoff: Every eye shadow formula is instantly intensified providing effortless blending. Minimizes Imperfections: Our Vitamin enriched, silicone based formula glides over lids, smoothing the appearance of crepe skin and brightening a dull or discolored lid.

Glamour Dust - A new generation of glitter emerges within this loose and luxurious pigment powder that merges all of the glamour of glitter with an ethereal feminine and fabulous effect. Sophisticated shades enhance existing eye shadows or look lovely when worn alone. Enhance Any Occasion: Dust a sheer application of our ethereal loose glitter over lids. Designed with the perfect metallic pigments, shimmer, and pure glamour. Versatile Shades: Four glamorous, fashionable shades enhance all eye colors. Get a little more daring and dust lightly onto cheekbones, collarbone, colletage, hair, and anywhere else you want to get noticed!
- Blue Angel - french blue
- Pink Fire - pale pink
- Nude Beam - shimmering nude
- Glampire - peacock brown

Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue - An extension of our best-selling Shadow Insurance Eye Shadow Primer, Glitter Glue was specifically formulated to lock-down glitter and enhances its reflective quality. Our colorless cream formula is designed to grab and hold loose glitter, pigments, and shimmers in place, insuring they won't come off until you take them off. Immaculate Application: Our formula eliminates messy fall-out. Glitter, loose powders, and shimmer products instantly locked down. Never experience a face full of glitter again!

Look of Love - Embrance the look of love with our spring collection of best-sellers and exclusive products. Swoon over this complete set filled with fresh and feminine shades in a chic, heart-stopping bag that speaks to language of amour! Set includes: Full Size Shadow Insurance Eye Shadow Primer, Deluxe Primed & Poreless, Flatbuki Brush, Full Size Glamour Gloss in Barely Legal, Full Size Lash Injection Mascara, Eye Shadow/Blush Exclusive Trio, and a Limited Edition Bag.
- Eyes and Cheeks - Evoke the look of love with our limited-edition trio of spring color includes two gorgeous eye shadow shades and a blush for a fresh, love-flushed cheek.
- One-Of-A-Kind Flatbuki - Uniquely designed for the Look of Love Makeup Collection, our exclusive cruelty-free Teddy Bear Hair helps you blend and apply color like a pro (perfect for touch-ups)!
- Glamour Gloss - Shine beautifully in our shimmering Glamour Gloss and experience the formula's addictive, gentle plumping cooling sensation. (Barely Legal - marshmellow pink)
- Lash Injection Mascara - Bat those lashes when you coat them in our best-selling, world famous mascara! Our waterproof formula is gentle and easy to remove!
- Shadow Insurance - Just a drop applied to eyelids eliminates creasing, melting, and fading of all shadow formulas while transforming color into an intensified version of itself! (Pitch Black - black)

Brow Envy Shaping & Defining Kit - Be envied for your gorgeous brows with "Brow Envy", a fool-proof kit that will have you arched, defined, and framed like a star! Contains customized color for all brunettes and blondes - mix two shades for your ideal brow color. Customized Color: Brunettes and blondes mix shades for a customized brow color. Complete Kit: Contains everything a glamour girl needs to shape, define, fill, & set brows. Unique Stencils: Choose your desired brow shape. Dual Tools: Angled brush and brow comb ensure flawless application.

Peach Leopard Bronzer - A new addition to our world-famous "Leopard" brightening bronzers! Peach Leopard turns up the heat with warming shades of shimmering peach, matte chocolate, and tawny brown imparting a skin perfecting, tropical glow. Corrective: The perfect combination of peach, chocolate, and bronze neutralizes redness and blotchy skin while delivering a warm, sun-kissed effect. All Skin Tones: Fair to medium tones are enriched with warmth while deeper skins are infused with a healthy radiance!

I still think that Neutral and Smoky Eye are my favorites of the kits that Too Faced has introduced. However, I like the Romantic Eye Kit and I can see myself getting a lot of use from it this spring, this is going to be a must check out item for me at Sephora. I am hoping that the purple based shades in this kit will be top notch since I have been using a lot of that color in my eye makeup looks recently. Other than the kit, I want both of the new Shadow Insurances, the Candlelight version to wear as a shadow instead of a primer (I prefer Urban Decay) and the Glitter version to see if it holds Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy or some of my other higher maintence shades. From the Glamour Dut, I can see myself getting a lot of use from the Nude Beam shade especially when creating more dramatic gold/bronze eyes at night.

I wish that this collection would have had something for the lips or cheeks especially since I am always looking for more pinks for this season. I am happy with many of the new eye products but I just wish that this collection was a bit broader in the product selection.

photo courtesy of Too Faced

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bath and Body Works Carried Away

Now that we are less than one month away from the beginning of March (and the beginning of snow melting), the spring products are now out in full forth. Bath and Body Works has just brought out their first big fragrance release of the year, a new addition to their Romantic collection of fragrances. This new fragrance is named Carried Away and is a lovely floral that will be perfect to usher spring in. Since I am a floral lady, this new fragrance is right up my alley and I am really excited to open up my bottle on the first warm day of spring.

Bath and Body Works states the following as a description of the fragrance, "Master perfumers have blended lush raspberries and juicy pear nectar with white jasmine and whipped vanilla to create this whimsical fragrance inspired by the way love sweeps you off your feet".

The top notes are: Italian Bergamot, Meyer Lemon, Mandarin, Juicy Pear Nectar, Lush Raspberries. The heart notes are: Purple Freesia, White Tuberose, White Jasmine, Soft Violet Petals. The base notes of the fragrance are: Creamy Sandalwood, Whipped Vanilla, Musk. This fragrance smells so different in the bottle than it does on my skin. I actually disliked it the first time that I sniffed it, the strongest notes on smelling it were the pear and the raspberry with a bot of the tuberose. The fragrance really developed when I put it on and the middle notes were able to come out on my skin. On my skin, the top notes fade within minutes of application (especially in the body spray) and the tuberose, jasmine, and whipped vanilla notes come out. I like that the fragrance is still light enough for spring because some of these notes can be very heavy depending on the blend and concentration.

When this fragrance was debuting in the small sizes, I bought one of each to test it out at home and without all the other scents that are present in the store. So far, I have only bought the EDT in the full size products but I plan to pick up more items from the reast of the collection within the next few weeks. The traditional Bath and Body Works products are all offered in this new fragrance; the Body Lotion, the Body Spray, the EDT, the Shower Gel, the Shea Cashmere Hand Cream; the Triple Moisture Shower Cream, the Triple Moisture Body Cream, and the Body Butter.

Bath and Body Works has continued their fragrance success with this spring release. I have been really happy with their latest fragrance releases and am now purchasing the full sized EDTs in every single fragrance, something that I hadn't done in ages. This is a great fragrance to wear in the spring time and is a wonderful addition to the Romantics line. I love when I can find yet another floral fragrance to add to my giant collection. On a side note - this bottle is beautiful and is one of the nicest that I have ever seen from Bath and Body Works (Secret Wonderland is a close second).

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Monday, February 7, 2011

O.P.I Katy Perry Collection

This is one of the few collections that I nearly screamed when I first saw. To put it in perspective, the last that I did that was when I first read about Viva Glam Gaga. I am still rocking my Katy Perry bangs and I love them even more as the weeks go by and they grow a bit longer. Since I have her bangs now, it is only fitting that I need her nail polish to top it off. This isn't Katy's first venture into the beauty world. Last spring, Lippmann Collection named a shade after Waking Up in Vegas and Katy's first fragrance was released exclusively to Nordstrom last holiday season. This time around, she gets a whole collection to herself.

"Dazzling, colorful, and totally unique...that's Katy Perry. And we LOVE her! Katy's on-stage glam is yours for the taking with shimmering shades of silver, blue, pink, and plum. Add a little edge with our Black Shatter shade - a rockin' new color that creates a 'shattered' effect when applied over dry nail lacquer. Fine, fresh, & fierce...just like Katy".

The first shade is named after her recent hit, Teenage Dream. This song is one of my favorites from her and that attracts me instantly to this polish. This is pink shade, it a cool pale pink with a glitter finish. This one looks as though it will be a very glittery polish and I really like this shade. I will wear this shade all spring and summer and I think that it could even work into next fall. The other shade with the glitter finish is Last Friday Night. This one is a medium cobalt blue and the glitter in the polish looks as though it will have an iridescent cast and shine all different shades. This one is another hit for me from this collection.

The last two shades from this collection have a shimmer finish and are more subtle than the all out glitter shades. Not Like the Movies is a shimmery deep silver and will be perfect with all the trends that we are seeing this spring. I love this shade too. The last shade is named after The One That Got Away. This is a cool toned magenta with a slight shimmer cast. This shade is my least favorite of the collection but I still find it very pretty. This is the only shade that I wouldn't purchase but that is really only because I already own a polish that is almost this exact shade already.

The Black Shatter is a new comcept for this company and one that I haven't seen in a quite a long time on the beauty market. I feel that the last time that I saw any type of cracked polish topcoat was when I was in high school. So this is very unique and very edgy, the Katy Perry collection is one of the few that they could have brought out a product like this. This polish might be a bit much for me for an everyday look especially over a polish with the glitter finish. however, this polish would rock for a night out especially for the nights that I wear one of my collection of little black dresses. I found and added an image that would show off that way that the Black Shatter performs on application.

photo courtesy of hautpr.com

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chanel Chance

Many people have asked me what my Valentine's Day fragrance has been throughout the years. My answer to them is the fragrance that I am going to discuss in this post. This is one of those rare fragrances that I can wear in both the winter and spring and that I have actually had to replace the bottle of it from wearing it so much. Anyone that has seen my fragrance wardrobe knows that this is huge since I never seem to buy small bottle and have so many that I rarely finish anything at all. The fragrance in question is the original Chanel Chance. Not only do I own the original, I also own the lighter Eau Fraiche that I prefer in the warm weather. "Chance. It's your chance...take it!" is the Chanel description of this fragrance.

This fragrance is a floral oriental like many other Chanel fragrances. I find this one to be on the lighter side of the Chanel fragrances and is one of the easier ones to wear from this design house. Sephora states, "Waves of freshness collide with floral notes and merge with sensual, sweet, and spicy elements. Surprising feminity, energy, daring, a hint of sexiness and delicious naughtiness. Chance is a fragrance drawn like a tightrope above the unpredictable. It's a fragrance that calls exciting what others might call dangerous".

The website goes further into the history of fragrance which I find very fascinating. I feel that every fragrance has a story and it is rare that I get to learn about the creation and idea behind the creation. "A decidedly young scent...for those who dare to dream. Chanel continues to be inspired by the spirit and intuition of Coco Chanel, who knew every chance is always in our lives. We don't always recognize it...perhaps because we don't believe in it enough. It drops by, brushes up against us, tempts us, popping up where we least expect it. It sweeps us up in a spin of dramatic moments and newfound loves. Now Chanel dedicates a fragrace to both chance and young women who dare, imagining a new world, exciting and promising. Jacques Polge, the nose of Chanel, has created a magnificently unexpected fragrance of contrasts, an edgy fragrance. When Chanel Artistic Director Jacques Helleu imagined chance, he drew a perfect circle. Little by little a pure bottle emerged, ringed by silver metal to contain and control the wild energy of chance. An unexpected shape for a Chanel fragrance, as unpredictable as chance itself. The colour of chance is soft, intense, and optimistic; chance is pink. Who would have predicted that one day Chanel would dress one of its fragrances in such a vibrant way?"

The notes in the fragrance are: Hyacinth, White Musc, Pink Pepper, Jasmine, Fresh Vetiver, Citrus, Iris, Amber of Patchouli. The fragrance opens with the Hyacinth note and begins as a floral but then the Pink Pepper, Jasmine, and Amber notes comes out and the fragrance becomes much more of an Oriental. This fragrance has a very long staying power on my skin and I think it might actually be the one with the longest staying power that I have tried so far.

This fragrance is available in both EDP and EDT forms and matching body care items. I bought the EDT and would love to get the matching body cream. Now I don't know that I really need any other items in this scent to build the fragrance even more since it already is strong on me and lasts all day long. This fragrance can be dressed up or down but I find that I prefer it the most either dressed up or with a sundress for a semi-casual night. I think Coco Mademoiselle is more formal and this fragrance is better for slightly more casual times. There is a pretty thin line between the two and really they can be interchanged very easily.

I don't think I need to state that I love this fragrance since this is the only one that I have ever bought a second full bottle of so far... Later in the spring, we will look at the newer versions that this fragrance has spawned and see how they differ.

photo courtesy of Chanel